Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Writer's Wednesday: News and Tidbits


That photo is from New Zealand a couple of years ago, but it will do as a stand-in for what I'm up to next. The blog, and the writing, will be on hold for the month of November while I'm trekking in Nepal! I'm super excited to be doing this, and will try to throw a photo or two your way while I'm there, but no promises, other than a weekly photo from the archives for you to enjoy. I'll be traveling with Second Son and a couple of friends, as part of an organized group of 7.

Meanwhile, it's been a while since I reported on my writing. It hasn't been going all that well, in part because of travel past and future (after a trip, I have to edit the photos, and before a trip I'm all about futzing with my gear over and over!). I did finish the total re-write of the story that was rejected from the IWSG collection last year--and I mean total. All I kept were the characters and most of the plot. That's out on submissions, but that's the only writing success this month.

Currently I'm brainstorming ideas so I'll have some prompts ready to go if I have down time on the trek and want to write. Of course, the places I'll be might suggest their own stories!

So that's about it.

Hope your writing (or whatever you do) is going better than mine!
 ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2021
 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated.

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Monday, October 25, 2021

Middle Grade Monday: Maud and Addie, by Maureen Buchanan Jones

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Title: Maud and Addie
Author: Maureen Buchanan Jones
Publication Info: May 2021 Fitzroy Books. Paperback is 240 pages.
Source: Library digital resources

Publisher’s Blurb:
In 1910, the two sisters, eleven- and twelve-year-old Maud and Addie, are eagerly anticipating their Summer Social in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. However, the event does not quite go according to plan, and the two girls are swept out to sea as they are rowing home at the day’s end. They find themselves adrift in the unforgiving North Atlantic with only the contents of a picnic hamper to sustain them and a carriage blanket to keep them warm. Finding their way through stormy seas, the girls finally make landfall on a deserted island. With string and a jackknife recovered from Maud’s pockets and a parasol and novel contributed by Addie, the girls create a world for themselves among the island dunes, keeping company with sea birds and other sea creatures. Their ensuing adventures test their wits and, in the process, forge a bond that enables them to survive.
My Review:
This was kind of a fun read. It didn't quite read or feel genuine to the period (I couldn't ever put on a finger on why not, but it just felt more modern), but I don't think that will stop any kids from enjoying this tale of two very different sisters. The interactions between the two girls felt spot-on to me--they managed to work together where they had to, but that didn't stop all the normal bickering.
As for the plot, it holds together. Things maybe go just a little too well for the girls on their desert island, as though maybe the author hasn't done all that much camping, but it does work, for the most part. The conclusion held its own twists and turns, some more believable than others. 

My Recommendation:
Overall, I'd say this is a story that most middle-grade readers will enjoy, while adult readers may had a little more trouble with the willing suspension of disbelief. Best for ages 8 and up.

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed an electronic copy of Maud and Addie from my library, and received nothing from the author or the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”   

 ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2021
 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated.

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Friday, October 22, 2021

Photo Friday: The Golden Cathedral

In late September I did an overnight backpack trip in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to an amazing spot near the Escalante River. The Golden Cathedral is doable as a dayhike, but at 11+ miles, my companions (my son and a friend) and I decided we'd rather camp and have time to enjoy the spot. It was a great decision.

I kind of wish I'd gotten some photos of the "Egypt Road" on the way in, because it tested the limits of Prius ground-clearance. Imagine our surprise when we got to the trailhead and the only other car there was... yet another Prius. 

Our two Prii. The 3rd was parked on the other side of the trees.

In some ways, getting to the TH was the hardest part. Once there, we filled out a permit in the box provided, and headed out--down to the Escalante River.

You can kind of tell where the land changes. The river runs through a shallow canyon in front of the more rounded bits.

The river had flooded recently, leaving a lot of drying mud.

Datura blossom

We camped not too far from the river, and finished the hike to the Golden Cathedral with just cameras and water. There had been flooding here, too, reminding us to find a campsite above the highest water line.

Heading up Neon Canyon

First glimpse through a narrow passage to something cool.

The Golden Cathedral

We spent about 2 hours just hanging out, taking photos, watching the light change, and playing with the shadows and reflections. There was some discussion of how cool it would be to see the place in flood, if you could do it without dying. (Actually, it was clear that you could climb to safe places; you just couldn't leave until the water moved on.)

Reflections of the water on the ceiling. Note the photographer's shadow.

Second Son playing with the shadows and reflections.

Eventually the light left us, and we moseyed back to camp to have some dinner. In the morning we made an early start, to try to climb out of the river bottoms before the day heated up. We saw some flowers, to my surprise. You can also tell from the flower photos how much of the way we were slogging through sand!

Sand verbena

Some kind of sunflower

The final climb

Another long, slow drive back out the Egypt road to camp. More adventures the next day!

 ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2021
 As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated.

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